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December 2017

Film Review: Aaron Sorkin’s Directorial Debut in ‘Molly’s Game’

CHICAGO – High stakes poker are for folks who prefer to get their rush of adrenalin from the turn of a card rather than other life risks. The positives, the negatives and everything in between are in “Molly’s Game,” the feature directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing” creator). Let’s walk and talk.

Aaron Sorkin’s Directorial Debut in ‘Molly’s Game’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – High stakes poker are for folks who prefer to get their rush of adrenalin from the turn of a card rather than other life risks. The positives, the negatives and everything in between are in “Molly’s Game,” the feature directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing” creator). Let’s walk and talk.

Film Review: Margot Robbie in ‘I, Tonya’ Can’t Stick the Landing

CHICAGO – We have arrived at point where yesterday’s trash TV has become today’s critical darling of the film festival circuit. As the trailers proclaim, “I, Tonya” desperately wants to be the “‘Goodfellas’ of Figure Skating,” but one of the biggest problems I had is that it’s just trying too hard.

Margot Robbie in ‘I, Tonya’ Can’t Stick the Landing

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – We have arrived at point where yesterday’s trash TV has become today’s critical darling of the film festival circuit. As the trailers proclaim, “I, Tonya” desperately wants to be the “‘Goodfellas’ of Figure Skating,” but one of the biggest problems I had is that it’s just trying too hard.

Film Review: Matt Damon in ‘Downsizing’ Offers Few Small Pleasures

CHICAGO – “Downsizing” is an interesting premise that doesn’t ultimately go anywhere interesting. Part of the problem is that writer/director Alexander Payne doesn’t seem to know what kind of a movie he wants it to be… it’s part cerebral Woody Allen futuristic comedy, part sci-fi social satire about Midwestern malaise, and winds up failing at both.

Matt Damon in ‘Downsizing’ Offers Few Small Pleasures

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “Downsizing” is an interesting premise that doesn’t ultimately go anywhere interesting. Part of the problem is that writer/director Alexander Payne doesn’t seem to know what kind of a movie he wants it to be… it’s part cerebral Woody Allen futuristic comedy, part sci-fi social satire about Midwestern malaise, and winds up failing at both.

Film Review: ‘All the Money in the World’ Has a Soft Landing

CHICAGO – A bitter and old rich man won’t take responsibility for the co-opting of something he is directly connected to. Is this the Trump administration or “All the Money in the World”? Christopher Plummer portrays mogul J. Paul Getty, trying to steer clear of his grandson’s kidnapping.

‘All the Money in the World’ Has a Soft Landing

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – A bitter and old rich man won’t take responsibility for the co-opting of something he is directly connected to. Is this the Trump administration or “All the Money in the World”? Christopher Plummer portrays mogul J. Paul Getty, trying to steer clear of his grandson’s kidnapping.

Film Review: Delightful ‘Ferdinand’ Keeps it Simple & Funny

Ferdinand

CHICAGO – Like the repeat tenets of real estate, good animated films come down to story, story, story. And ‘Ferdinand,’ an older children’s tale adapted to modern audiences, combines a gentle source narrative with palatable visual and cartoon jokes. It’s fun for the whole family!

Delightful ‘Ferdinand’ Keeps it Simple & Funny

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Like the repeat tenets of real estate, good animated films come down to story, story, story. And ‘Ferdinand,’ an older children’s tale adapted to modern audiences, combines a gentle source narrative with palatable visual and cartoon jokes. It’s fun for the whole family!

Interview, Audio: Michael Stuhlbarg in ‘Call Me By Your Name’

CHICAGO – The character actor Michael Stuhlbarg is one of the more complete players in today’s show business. His embrace of a role is absolute, and his characters ring with a particular poetry based on his interpretations. His latest role is of an academic and father in the new film, “Call Me By Your Name.”

Photo Gallery: Diamante at the RocHaus on Dec. 14, 2017

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Diamante at the RocHaus on Dec. 14, 2017

WEST DUNDEEDiamante performed at the RocHaus on Dec. 14, 2017. HollywoodChicago.com photographer Jeff Doles brings you the photos!

Podtalk: Liliane Calfee of DePaul University Presents ‘Step’ on Dec. 16, 2017

2017 Screening of 'Step'

CHICAGO – Within the expanding DePaul University School of Cinematic Arts is a commitment to community outreach. Liliane Calfee is an Instructor in the school, as well as the Program Director of the CHA (Chicago Housing Authority) Program in Documentary Filmmaking, a course which gives female youth from public housing the opportunity to learn the nuts-and-bolts of the documentary art form from DePaul academic experts. This program, along with film community leader Chaz Ebert, will present the 2017 documentary “Step” on Saturday, December 17th, 2017, at the CDM Theatre on the South Loop campus.

Film Review: Ethereal ‘The Shape of Water’ Forms Cinema Magic

CHICAGO – This breathtaking morality and love story, set in a backward age, takes all of its major themes – passion, tolerance, symbolism and thrills – to the highest level. Writer/director Guillermo del Toro has created a masterwork that is part fairy tale, part adult desperation and all cinema magic.

Ethereal ‘The Shape of Water’ Forms Cinema Magic

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

CHICAGO – This breathtaking morality and love story, set in a backward age, takes all of its major themes – passion, tolerance, symbolism and thrills – to the highest level. Writer/director Guillermo del Toro has created a masterwork that is part fairy tale, part adult desperation and all cinema magic.

Film News: Chicago Film Critics Association Honors ‘Lady Bird’ as 2017 Best Film

Lady Bird

CHICAGO – “Lady Bird,” which is the sensational, authentic and emotional directorial debut of actor Greta Gerwig, was honored as the Best Picture of 2017 as determined by the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) on Dec. 12, 2017. The Best Director was split to Christopher Nolan of “Dunkirk,” the Best Actor was Timothée Chalamet of “Call Me By Your Name” (who also was awarded Most Promising Performer) and the Best Actress was Saoirse Ronan of “Lady Bird.”

Film Review: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Turns Up the Volume

CHICAGO – Everything that could be thrown into the Stars Wars legend – and the official story – is present in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” With three concurrent stories converging into an amped-up climax, all manner of Star Wars-mania and fan satisfaction can be realized in Episode 8.

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Turns Up the Volume

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Everything that could be thrown into the Stars Wars legend – and the official story – is present in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” With three concurrent stories converging into an amped-up climax, all manner of Star Wars-mania and fan satisfaction can be realized in Episode 8.

Film News: ‘Call Me By Your Name’ Tops Chicago Film Critics Association’s Nominations for 2017

Call Me By Your Name

CHICAGO – The eclectic coming-of-age love story, “Call Me By Your Name” topped the nominations list with eight for the 2017 Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) Film Awards, to be announced on Wednesday, December 13th. Director Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of Andre Aciman’s novel garnered nods for Best Picture, Guadagnino for Best Director, and acting noms for Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg and Timothee Chalamet.

Film News: Midwest Independent Film Festival Announces 2017 Best of the Midwest Awards

2017 Best of the Midwest Awardees

CHICAGO – The votes were tallied – from internet surveys and the awards committee – and the Midwest Independent Film Festival “Best of the Midwest” (BMA) Awards were given out on Tuesday, December 5th, 2017.

Film Review: Woody Allen Has Run Out of Ideas with ‘Wonder Wheel’

CHICAGO – Woody Allen emptied out his junk drawer of discarded script ideas and somehow managed to convince Kate Winslet to star in it. That’s the gist of the latest “serious Woody” entry in the Oscar winner’s long running career. Woody Allen has had some timeless triumphs, but lately he’s been more about quantity than quality.

Woody Allen Has Run Out of Ideas with ‘Wonder Wheel’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Woody Allen emptied out his junk drawer of discarded script ideas and somehow managed to convince Kate Winslet to star in it. That’s the gist of the latest “serious Woody” entry in the Oscar winner’s long running career. Woody Allen has had some timeless triumphs, but lately he’s been more about quantity than quality.

Interview, Audio: Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill in ‘Darkest Hour’

CHICAGO – Gary Oldman has been generating memorable film portrayals since he broke through in the 1980s. From Sid Vicious (“Sid and Nancy”) to Lee Harvey Oswald (“JFK”) to Jim Gordon (Dark Knight Series), Oldman is a consummate actor. That is expressed in his latest role, as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”

Interview, Audio: Veteran Screenwriters of ‘The Disaster Artist’

CHICAGO – The screenwriting team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have had many adventures plying their trade, ever since their breakthrough “500 Days of Summer” in 2009. Their latest assignment was adapting “The Disaster Artist” for director and lead actor James Franco.

Exclusive Photo: Happy Birthday to Supermodel Lisa Marie

CHICAGO – She was the creative muse for one of the most famous photographers in history, she inspired a notable film director with her unique look and she was the face for Calvin Klein’s Obsession. Supermodel and actor Lisa Marie is celebrating her birthday on December 5th, 2017.

Film News: Midwest Independent Film Festival’s Best of the Midwest on Dec. 5, 2017

2017 Best of the Midwest

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, December 5th, the Midwest Independent Film Festival will award their 2017 “Best of the Midwest” honors with a ceremony at Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago at 7pm. Nominees include the feature films “Dave Made a Maze,” “Halfway,” “Signature Move,” “The Legend of Swee’ Pea” and “The View From Tall.”

Podtalk: Brad Riddell & Anna Maria Hozian of Web Series ‘Other People’s Children’

Other People's Children

CHICAGO – The education system of America has been ripe over the years for comedic skewering… and with today’s overindulgent parenting style, it’s never been a better time for those knowing laughs. The focus on parent teacher/conferences is the subject of the latest comedy web series, shot in Chicago, called “Other People’s Children.” (OPC).

Film Review: Funny ‘The Disaster Artist’ Takes Us Back to ‘The Room’

CHICAGO – “The Room” is a post-millennial cult movie that plays the midnight and college movie circuit, entertaining audiences with its sheer badness. Its story is told in the “The Disaster Artist,” featuring James Franco as the director of “The Room,” and he also directed the film. Very meta.

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  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

  • Bill Daily, photo by Joe Arce

    CHICAGO – He was America’s sidekick in TV’s golden decades of the 1960s and ‘70s, and was a proud Chicago-born-and-bred performer. Bill Daily, better known as Major Roger Healey (“I Dream of Jeannie”) and the wacky neighbor Howard Borden (“The Bob Newhart Show”) died at his New Mexico home at the age of 91 on September 4th, 2018.

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